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Efficacious Prayer May 14, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Tradition, Virtue.
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I haven’t quoted Divine Intimacy much, of late.  Shame on me!  Here is a quote, taken from Day 175, Fifth Sunday After Easter, on Efficacious Prayer:

To pray “in the Name of Jesus” establishes the conviction that our prayers, as well as all our good works, have no value unless they are founded on the infinite merits of JesusWe must be persuaded that, however much we do or pray, we are always “unprofitable servants” (Lk 17:10); we have no sufficiency in ourselves, but all our sufficiency comes from the CrucifiedConsequently, the first condition of prayer made “in the Name of Jesus” is humility, an ever deeper and more realistic sense of our nothingness. [Because the very best we can do is cooperate with the Grace God makes available to us]   It must be complimented by the second condition, a boundless confidence in the merits of Jesus, which surpass all our poverty, misery, necessitites, and needs.  In view of Jesus’ infinite merits, we can never ask too much in His Name; we can never be too bold in imploring the plenitude of Divine Grace for our souls, in aspiring to that sanctity which is hidden, perhaps, but genuine.  There is no fault, no want of fidelity, no evil tendency, no sin, which, if sincerely detested, cannot be cleansed and pardoned by the Blood of Jesus;  there is no weakness which He cannot cure, strengthen, and transform. [If we have some grave sin we think unforgivable, we are wrong. If we have a consistent attachment, imperfection, or even moral failing we just seem to have a really hard time getting over (and most of us do), we must trust the more in the infinite Grace that flows from Jesus’ eternal Sacrifice and place our failings on the Altar of that Sacrifice.  If we humbly and confidently trust in that Grace, we can overcome any sin or imperfection] Moreover, there is no creature of good will, no matter how weak and insignificant, who, in the Name of Jesus, cannot aspire to sanctity. [We are all called to be saints]

However, in order to make our prayer effective, a third condition is required: our life must correspond to our prayer, our faith must be translated into good works. “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if a man be a hearer of teh word and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass. For he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was.” This strong exhortationa of St. James, which is found in today’s Epistle (Jm 1:22-27), is an urgent reminder of the practical character of the Christian life. Vain is our prayer, vain our confidence in God, if we do not add our generous efforts to perform all our duties, to live up to our high vocation.   We can, and we should, hope for everything in the Name of Jesus, but He expects a constant effort on our part to be entirely faithful to Him. [So, even as we trust in Jesus for the aid to overcome our faults, we must exert our own effort, in cooperation with Grace.  We must also constantly be mindful that part of our carrying our cross is to perform works of a salvific nature, especially corporal or spiritual works of mercy, and penance/mortification for our benefit and that of others.  The latter is especially necessary in terms of overcoming our faults and imperfections.  We should strive to perform at least 3 to 5 mortifications a day.]

I pray you found this excerpt useful.  God bless you!

On the question of modesty May 14, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Domestic Church, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Sacraments, sadness, scandals.
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I had a commenter take issue with my, admittedly snarky, commentary on the lack of modesty in the ‘approved’ dress at Catholic schools (this with regard to the Melinda Gates-Ursuline situation).  I felt that some photos of students at Ursuline revealed some endemic problems.  Providentially, Aggie Catholics has a post today on the subject of modesty.  It is a post written with a great focus on modesty as an acto of charity for others, in addition to its reflection of charity for God and prudence in general.  It’s a bit of a long post, but here are some excerpts (I add emphasis and comments):

Why Modesty?

First of all, I want to assert that the reason we dress modestly is NOT because our feminine bodies are bad or ugly or intrinsically ‘occasions of sin’. Simultaneously, it is NOT because all men think about is sex, or that they are incapable of looking at us without lust. Rather modesty involves speaking the truth with our bodies. While women are generally aroused through emotional warmth or physical touch, men are aroused through visual stimuli. Whether we intend to or not, revealing too much of our bodies sends a message that we are sexually available to them. As one young man recently explained to a group of women here at St. Mary’s, “there are two steps to having sex. Taking off one’s clothes and actually having sex. If someone is already half undressed, it’s difficult for one’s mind not to go to the second step”.

But meanwhile, the world seems ‘hell-bent’ on destroying in women a proper sense of what is and is not modest. Has not modern day fashion slowly desensitized us to exposing almost every part of our body that can possibly be exposed?  [Indeed, it has.  That is why I made those funny comments in the post mentioned above, showing Catholic school girls wearing short skirts, drill team outfits, etc.  The dress is scandalous, or borderline so.  Why do you think the “schoolgirl” motiff is so popular in porn?] Tne style may show off more and more of the leg, another the chest, the navel, the back, etc., so that slowly we’ve become increasingly comfortable with having any or every part of our bodies revealed to the public. Is it possible to wear any less clothing than a string bikini? Even being clad in solely our undergarments would cover more than many swimsuits do nowadays. [that is true.  I know one really good Catholic mom who won’t let her kids swim or do other such potentially problematic activities with kids of the opposite sex.  I find that inspirational, and her now, mostly grown, children are representative of the kind of behavior you would want in the best-raised Catholic children]

It is true that norms of modesty do shift somewhat from culture to culture. There have been cultures where women have never worn shirts and therefore their being topless was not considered sexually suggestive for the men in their society. But question of importance for us today is what message do our outfits, in our present culture and day, send to the men we are blessed to know and love?

There follows some survey results showing how different forms of dress affect the opposite sex.  I won’t lie, it’s mostly based on female dress impacting males, but that is the way God created us.  Men are visual and predatorial (sexually or not), whereas the feminine is motivated by emotion and other considerations, and has been, typically, sexually more passive.  So, dress tends to impact males more than females, not that males should not dress appropriately.  But in our culture, women are told to, almost literally, prostitute themselves by their dress.

Been to a Catholic wedding lately?  Were you scandalized by the revealing attire?  That’s just one small indicator of how little understanding there is of modesty anymore.  That people, young, unmarried women most notably, would feel fine with dressing in their most revealing outfits – to a wedding – says alot about where we are as a culture and even as a Church.  It’s almost like it’s a competition or jealousy thing.

REMINDER: Latin Mass tonight at St. Mark May 14, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Latin Mass, North Deanery, Tradition, Virtue.
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 Latin Mass tonight, 7 pm, yada  yada yada.

A further reminder – no Mass on Memorial Day. 

This is in Shiner, apparently!

Vatican: supporters of abortion/euthanasia use same arguments as Nazis May 14, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, contraception, Dallas Diocese, disaster, error, horror, persecution, sadness, sickness, Society, unadulterated evil.
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And we know how lovable and cuddly those Nazis were!  It’s Springtime for Hitler all over again!  This, from L’Osservatore Romano via the Daily Mail:

The Vatican’s semi-official newspaper has angered supporters of euthanasia and abortions by suggesting they apply the same justifications that were used by the Nazis to champion their murderous eugenics programme.

The controversial claim that they believe in the survival of the fittest concept, was made in an article on the front page of today’s issue of L’Osservatore RomanO.

It was published in response to the recent Italian translation of a 1920 book titled Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Living, by two German scholars, Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche. [Ah, the Germans….from Kant to Nietzche and from Bismarck to Luther, how many gifts they have given the human race!]

It is written by Lucetta Scaraffia, an Italian historian who frequently has work published in the Vatican paper, reports the Huffington Post.

‘Contempt for imperfect human life, over estimation of the abilities of science’ are ‘still firmly present in our time,’ she states.

The book she is discussing set the agenda for the Nazi programme of extermination – they believed that select people did not have the right to survive, such as disabled or terminally ill patients. [Or Catholics or Jews, for that matter. Once you decide that certain people don’t deserve to live, it’s amazing how long your list of targets gets]

It promotes the idea that people who are seriously or terminally ill or have a mental or physical disability were ‘unworthy of being lived,’ and should be given a ‘charitable death.’ [And how is this different from euthanasia as it is presently practiced and argued for, in, say, Holland, where they have thousands of “involuntary euthanasias” a year?  And what of abortion?  We have murdered about 10% of the human population in the last 50 years with this horrendous pagan practice.  I also note that in this country, abortion is disproportionately practiced on those “undesirables” that Margaret Sanger first identified as unworthy of reproduction almost a century ago]

In the article Scaraffia argues that this viewpoint on whether a life should be ended is present in the ‘writings of many contemporary bioethicists, and of many politicians who support legislative proposals of a euthanastic type.’ [and now we have “bioethicists” arguing for the murder of BORN children, at the whim of the parents.  After all, since life begins at conception, they argue, and we’re already killing in utero children by the millions, why not kill children up to some arbitrary age?  If little Johnnie is driving you crazy, well…….go down to your friendly Planned Familihood and they’ll take care of the problem for you]

The historian asserts that the book is ‘sinisterly’ relevant to current debates.

Indeed it is.  Thus, it is “controversial.”  The Truth has always been controversial.  And in our increasingly neo-pagan times, we’re going to have to argue for and witness to that Truth all over again, starting over almost from scratch, as the Church did 2000 years ago.  It’s amazing how quickly a culture can detach itself from the religious and philosophical  anchors that created and sustained it – sustained it for centuries.

We have so very much work to do.

Bishop Farrell responds to Gates/Ursuline contraception imbroglio May 14, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, contraception, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, General Catholic, sadness, scandals.
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A week ago, uber-wealthy Dallas Ursuline Academy graduate Melinda Gates announced a multi-billion dollar effort to inject tens of millions of women with powerful, dangerous, class one carcinogens, also known as hormonal contraception.  Gates claimed she had the full support of the religious sisters at Ursuline.  I blogged on this subject several times last week.  In my most recent post, I called for action by Bishop Farrell in this matter.  Apparently, late Friday, Bishop Farrell responded to the situation (thanks to reader Warren M):

May 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – According to a spokeswoman of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, is “communicating with the sisters” of the Ursuline Academy of Dallas, following statements attributed to the nuns that appear to support billionaire Melinda Gates’ campaign to inject millions of of impoverished women with contraceptive drugs.

Diocesan spokeswoman Annette Gonzalez Taylor told LifeSiteNews.com that she could not make further comments regarding the situation, but that a statement would soon be posted on the diocesan website.

The communique, which appeared on Friday at approximately 6 pm central time, speaks for Farrell, stating that “in light of recent news events” the bishop “reminds all faithful that the Catholic Church is unwavering in Her teaching which states that through Divine Law, God is the giver of life.” [I note in passing that late Friday press releases are frequently done in the political world in order to minimize news coverage of events one would rather have ignored.  I have no idea if such was the case here]

“Human life and the duty and privilege of transmitting it are not limited to the horizons of this life only. As Catholics, God has empowered us to be partners with him and through mutual self-giving be open to his plan for new life. Human sexuality and sexual expression in marriage are among God’s greatest gifts,” the statement reads.

Artificial contraception violates the meaning of this gift. The mutual unconditional gift that a married couple offers to one another in love must remain open to render them co-creators with God in new life. Every Catholic has a serious responsibility to inform themselves about this teaching and to form their consciences in its light.” [That’s right!  We, as Catholics, are not “free” to form our consciences any way we see fit.  This is not the cult of man, where beliefs convenient to men are paramount.  We are the Cult of God.  We have the duty to form our conscience into the mind of the Church.  It is the fundamental aspect of being Catholic]

The bishop’s comments come in apparent response to recent statements made by Melinda Gates, wife of billionaire tech mogul Bill Gates, claiming that the nuns who manage the Ursuline Academy of Dallas, where she once attended high school, were supportive of her plan to begin a global contraceptive campaign. [Gates also claims to have wrestled with her conscience over this issue.  But when she got the worldly affirmation of the sisters at Ursuline, isn’t it likely that any remaining doubts evaporated?  Now that the alternative magisterium has spoken, she’s unlikely to have any qualms about her nefarious plot]

Gates recently told Newsweek magazine that she intends to raise $4 billion to distribute contraceptives to 120 million women in poor countries by 2020. She emphasizes the injectable drug Depo-Provera, which can cause abortions by preventing the implantation of a newly-conceived human life in the uterine wall. It is also associated with a host of medical problems, including osteoporosis, cervical cancer, and even memory loss. It contains a black label warning from the FDA. [It is a serious carcinogen, among other things]

According to Gates, the nuns at her old school were delighted to hear about her plans to initiate a global contraceptive campaign and contacted her to tell her: “We’re all for you. We know this is a difficult issue to speak on, but we absolutely believe that you’re living under Catholic values.”

“Living Catholic values” by repudiating one of the core beliefs of the Church.  So, then, Stalin, Hitler, Beria, Deng Xiaoping, etc., were also “living Catholic values” when they instituted massive contraception/abortion campaigns in their countries/occupied territories?  Or is this another case of the uncatholic error that all that matters are one’s intentions, and not the actual act committed?  

So, we have an initial response from Bishop Farrell making plain what the Church believes.  But we have no direct repudiation of the actions of the Ursuline sisters, as yet.  Nor any systemic changes to help prevent such great scandals in the future.  But, there may be forthcoming statements and/or actions taken in this matter.  I pray there are.